The Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Natural Resources has received bids from several international firms to conduct the Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) baseline studies.
According to last Thursday’s minutes at the National Procurement Tender and Administration Board (NPTAB), four companies submitted Expressions of Interest for the project. They include Asian Consulting Engineering; Institute of Environmental Bay Phase (Portugal); Strategic WW Consortium and Nemus.
The successful consultant will be tasked with completing studies to identify the direct, indirect, short and long-term social and environmental impacts which could be generated by the oil and gas development in Guyana, as well as evaluating the scope and probability of the impacts due to increased activities offshore and onshore supporting facilities.
The facilities include ports/ wharves, logistical shore bases, chemical storage warehouses, bulking and liquid mud plants, heavy duty machining workshop for drilling bits, gas transfer pipelines, processing and power generation facilities, and the industrial site developments around the gas processing facility, among others.
Further, the consultant will have to identify the gaps between Guyana’s Health, Safety, Environmental and Social (HSES) Safeguards and the World Bank’s protections, therefore helping to identify areas for capacity building and training of government officials in the management of the impacts arising from the oil and gas sector.
Recommendations to avoid, manage and/or lessen these impacts, and facilitate the integration of mitigation measures into a coherent set of legal and regulatory proposals and implementation measures will also have to be developed.
In addition, the consultant will provide environmental and social input to capacity building activities, discuss recommendations and facilitate coordination among the various government sectors and develop a Prioritised Action Plan, in coordination with other government stakeholders to provide for the transfer of knowledge, including on the job training and review workshops for selected personnel of government organisations.
Furthermore, the government is looking to have the consultant develop the SESA in line with the requirements of the World Bank environmental and social policies in five phases: scoping; description of the regulatory and institutional framework and assessment of capacity; identification of HSES issues and risks; propose recommended mitigation and monitoring; support the implementation of priority mitigation measures, and final consultations, review and approval.
On the whole, considering the ongoing and proposed development and capacity building activities for the oil and gas sectors, the SESA will provide a comprehensive sector-wide examination of potential impacts, both positive and negative,and identify gaps in regulations, institutional capacity, and public consultation mechanisms.
The SESA aims at being a strategic framework for strengthening environmental and social sustainability of the oil and gas sector in Guyana, strengthening the country’s ability to address health and safety issues in this sector, and prepare an Indigenous Peoples Planning Framework (IPPF). In the process, the SESA will contribute to a more transparent understanding of environmental and social regulations, creating a more level playing field for private investors.